Glossary of Terms

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Accident / Damage Indicator
CARFAX receives information about accidents in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. Different information in a vehicle's history can indicate an accident or damage, such as: salvage auction, fire damage, police-reported accident, crash test vehicle, damage disclosure, collision repair facility and automotive recycler records. Not every accident or damage event is reported and not all reported are provided to CARFAX. Details about the accident or damage event when reported to CARFAX (e.g. severity, impact location, airbag deployment) are included on the Vehicle History Report. CARFAX recommends you obtain a vehicle inspection from your dealer or an independent mechanic.
Airbag Deployment
Occurs when the driver, passenger or side airbag has been used or deployed during a crash or other incident. If an airbag has been deployed, it must be replaced by a qualified technician. Have this car inspected by a mechanic prior to purchase. Use CARFAX Airbag Tips to make sure this vehicle's airbag system is functional.
Auction Disclosures or Announcements
Dealers and institutions (i.e. fleet companies, rental car companies, and manufacturers) sell millions of cars at auction each year. Sellers often provide disclosures about a vehicle's damage, mileage, or repair history. These disclosures are made available to potential buyers in pre-sale lists and in auction announcements.
Auto Auction
Auto auctions provide CARFAX with odometer readings for vehicles bought and sold at auction. Approximately 31% of used cars sold at dealerships are purchased at auto auctions.
Automotive Recycler
Vehicles sold at an automotive recycler are often totaled by insurance companies. The majority of these vehicles are 1) rebuilt and sold as a complete vehicle, 2) dismantled and sold for parts, or 3) scrapped and sold as metal. On occasion, they also handle vehicles with no specific damage history.
Bonded Title
A title is bonded when the owner has no proof of ownership during the titling process. The bond remains in effect for three years or until the vehicle is no longer registered in the state.
Built to Non U.S. Standards
Vehicle previously registered or titled outside of the U.S. and may not comply with U.S. safety and emissions standards.
Canadian Damage Report
CARFAX receives damage reports for many accidents occurring in the following Canadian Provinces: Ontario, Alberta, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, Yukon territories, Northwest territories, and Nunavut. These reports may be completed following an accident or other incident. Some include a damage claim amount. This amount represents physical damage to the vehicle and depending on the accident, damage to other vehicles and/or property. It does not include expenses like towing, a rental car or any medical related items.
Canadian Total Loss Vehicle
An insurance company declares a vehicle a total loss if the estimated repair cost, plus the salvage value of the damaged vehicle, exceeds the cash value of the vehicle before it was damaged. A Canadian vehicle declared a total loss may require a technical inspection before it can return to the road.
CARFAX Price Adjustment™
Accidents, service records, number of owners and many other history factors can affect a vehicle's value. The CARFAX Price Adjustment is a tool that analyzes millions of used car transactions to measure how the combination of all the information reported to CARFAX affects the value of a particular vehicle. The vehicle's retail book value plus the CARFAX Price Adjustment will give you a more accurate measure of the vehicle's value. Use this tool, along with a vehicle inspection and test drive, to make a better decision about your next used car.
CARFAX Well Maintained - Regular Oil Changes
CARFAX identifies a "Well Maintained - Regular Oil Change" vehicle as having a regular oil change history when all its recommended oil changes, based on the vehicle's maintenance schedule, have been reported to CARFAX. CARFAX uses the manufacturer's schedule and assumes normal driving conditions. When an oil change schedule is not available, CARFAX may analyze reported service events to determine what is typical for the same make and model vehicle. Dealers and service shops may publish different recommended service schedules.
Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle
Many manufacturers have certified pre-owned programs that promote used vehicles that meet high standards defined by the manufacturer. Each program has a different certification process.
Collision Repair Facility
A collision repair facility specializes in repairing vehicle damage caused by accidents and other incidents. A vehicle inspection completed by your dealer or a professional inspector is recommended.
Commercial
Vehicle was registered for business purposes.
Crash Test
Vehicles used in crash tests are supposed to be sold as nonrepairable or nonrebuildable vehicles, if the repair costs exceed the salvage values of the vehicles and/or the vehicles cannot be safely repaired. Institutions that test these vehicles disclose this information to CARFAX to help ensure that such vehicles do not end up back on the road.
Curbstoning
A curbstoner is a person who purchases vehicles at volumes that require a dealer license and then poses as a private seller to sell to unsuspecting buyers for a large profit. Curbstoning is illegal in most States. CARFAX analyzes a vehicle's history for specific events to determine if a vehicle is potentially at risk for curbstoning. For instance, a vehicle that has been sold at auction but not issued a new title during a given period of time. Please see the CARFAX Curbstoning Tips for other ways to identify a potential curbstoner.
Damage Disclosure
When the owner discloses to a DMV or other CARFAX source that the vehicle sustained damage. The extent of damage can range from minor to severe. CARFAX recommends you have this vehicle inspected.
Date Reported
Refers to the date when the transaction occurred.
Dealer Service Company
Dealer Service Companies assist auto dealers in managing their inventories. These companies offer data services in the areas of mass marketing, maintenance notification, unit labeling and advertising. Not all dealer service companies report information to CARFAX.
Diminished Value
Depending on the state and claim, insurance companies may pay 'diminished value' as part of a claim to compensate owners for lost retail value at the time of the damage event - beyond the cost of physical repairs. CARFAX recommends having a pre-purchase inspection conducted by a professional before buying any used car.
Dismantled Title
The vehicle sustained major damage to one or more major component parts and the cost of repairing the vehicle for safe operation exceeds its fair market value. When a Dismantled title is issued, the vehicle may be used only for parts or scrap metal. It cannot be re-titled or returned to the road.
Exceeds Mechanical Limits
A vehicle with a 5-digit odometer cannot accurately track mileage after 99,999 miles because the odometer rolls over. This title is the result of a seller certifying under the Federal Odometer Act, that the odometer reading EXCEEDS MECHANICAL LIMITS of the odometer.
Exempt Vehicle
In most states, odometer law requires that vehicles less than 10 years old report odometer readings. Vehicles over 10 years old are often exempt from this requirement and do not need to provide odometer readings.
Failed Emissions Inspection
The emissions check performed during a vehicle inspection indicated the vehicle was emitting more than allowable emissions standards and/or had missing or modified parts. Repeated failed emissions records can indicate engine problems and CARFAX recommends you have the vehicle inspected.
Federal Odometer Act
The Federal Odometer Act requires a seller to disclose the vehicle's mileage on the title when ownership is transferred. Congress enacted this Act to prohibit odometer tampering and to protect consumers from mileage fraud. Under this act, sellers must disclose any issues with the vehicle's odometer. These disclosures translate into the Exceed Mechanical Limits and Not Actual Mileage titles.
Fire Damage
CARFAX receives information on vehicle fires from most U.S. jurisdictions. These events are taken from the actual fire department reports compiled at the scene.
Fire Damage Title
The vehicle sustained major damage due to fire. In most states, fire damage titles are issued when the cost of repairing the vehicle for safe operation exceeds its fair market value.
First Owner
When the first owner(s) obtains a title from a Department of Motor Vehicles as proof of ownership.
Fleet Management Company
Fleet Management Companies manage the financing, insurance, maintenance and repair of corporate or government fleet vehicles. Fleet companies are typically self-insured. Several fleet companies provide CARFAX with the repair and damage history of their vehicles.
Fleet Vehicle
Vehicle was registered or sold to a company that manages vehicle fleets.
Flood Damage Title
States issue flood titles when a vehicle has been in a flood or has received extensive water damage.
Ford or Lincoln Mercury Recall
The Ford Motor Company provides Carfax with recall information regarding safety, compliance and emissions programs announced since 2000 for a specific vehicle. For complete information regarding programs or concerns about this vehicle, please contact a local Ford or Lincoln Mercury Dealer.
General Comments
CARFAX reports display important information in the General Comments column of the Detailed Vehicle History. Comments will vary, depending on the information provided by the source.
Grey Market Vehicle
Vehicle previously registered or titled outside of the U.S. and may not comply with U.S. safety and emissions standards.
Gross Polluter
A Gross Polluter is a vehicle that fails an emissions inspection with below-standard scores. These vehicles can pollute as much as 18 times more than a vehicle that passes an emissions inspection. It is illegal to drive or sell a gross polluting vehicle in California, and it cannot be registered with the DMV. CARFAX recommends checking the latest Vehicle Inspection Report to confirm the proper repairs have been completed before purchasing.
Hail Damage Title
The vehicle sustained major damage due to hail. In most states, hail damage titles are issued when the cost of repairing the vehicle for safe operation exceeds its fair market value.
Information Source
CARFAX receives data from thousands of data sources. The information source refers to the source or provider of the vehicle history information reported in the Vehicle History Report.
Inspections
Many states or counties require annual or biennial emissions and/or safety inspections. Odometer readings are collected at the time of the inspection.
Junk Title
A Junk Title is issued on a vehicle damaged to the extent that the cost of repairing the vehicle exceeds approximately 75% of its pre-damage value. This damage threshold may vary by state. The majority of states use this title to indicate that a vehicle is not road worthy and cannot be titled again. Some states treat Junk titles the same as Salvage.
Lease
When someone leases a car from a dealer, the dealer actually sells the vehicle to a leasing company. The leasing company then collects payments for the vehicle from the new owner for 24, 36, 48 or more months. A leasing company can be an independent car dealer or a car manufacturer.
Lemon Law Vehicle
A vehicle with major problems that has been repurchased by or had its price renegotiated with the manufacturer. The state marks its official records or issues a title brand for lemon law vehicles. Laws vary by state as to the specific requirements for a "lemon". Most manufacturers issue some buybacks that are not the result of Lemon Laws but rather a courtesy.
Lexus Recall
Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. provides CARFAX with recall information within the last 10 model years for vehicles originally marketed or sold in the United States of America and its territories. Only open Safety or Emissions recalls, where the remedy is available and has not been completed, will be listed. While Toyota provides data updates to CARFAX on a regular basis, this report may not include very recent activity. For the most current information on recall activity for any Lexus vehicle, go to http://lexus.com/recall.
Lien
A lien is a legal right to the vehicle by a third party to ensure the repayment of a debt or other financial obligation. This often occurs due to an auto loan. Other types of liens include mechanic's liens and child support liens. If you are buying, check with the seller to make sure the lien has been resolved.
Loan
A loan is when a person borrows money from a financial institution or other type of lender with an agreement to pay back the full amount plus interest over a period of time. Loans are usually guaranteed with assets like a vehicle or home. Until the loan is paid off, the lender will have a lien on these assets and has the right to repossess them if the terms of the loan are not met.
Major Parts Removed
When a vehicle has three or more major parts removed by an automotive recycler.
Manufacturer Buyback or Lemon
A DMV or a state agency marks an official document or issues a Manufacturer Buyback/Lemon title when a vehicle has been repurchased by the manufacturer. Not all states issue manufacturer buyback titles and the specific requirements for a lemon law vehicle vary by state.
Manufacturer Recall
Automobile manufacturers issue recall notices to inform owners of car defects that have come to the manufacturer's attention. Recalls also suggest improvements that can be made to improve the safety of a particular vehicle. Most manufacturer recalls can be repaired at no cost to you.
Manufacturer Vehicle
Manufacturer vehicles are vehicles put up for sale by the manufacturer. These vehicles are typically only available to dealers at special auctions. These vehicles have generally been registered as lease or rental vehicles.
Manufacturer-Recommended Maintenance Schedules
Automobile manufacturers provide recommended maintenance schedules for each of their models. These schedules inform owners of maintenance that should be performed on a vehicle at specific mileage milestones. These schedules are available in the owner's manual or at Edmunds.com.
Mileage Inconsistency
If an odometer reading is less than a previous reading but CARFAX is uncertain whether the discrepancy is a rollback or a clerical error, then CARFAX calls it a "Mileage Inconsistency". In this case, you should verify the mileage with your dealer or a qualified mechanic.
Motor Vehicle Dept.
Motor Vehicle Departments issue both titles and registrations to vehicle owners. Each title or registration record on a CARFAX report does not necessarily indicate a change in ownership. New titles and registrations can be created for name, address and lien holder changes; ownership changes; vehicle status changes; registration activity; title corrections; and lost titles.
New Owner Reported
When a vehicle is sold to a new owner, the Title must be transferred to the new owner(s) at a Department of Motor Vehicles.
NICB
The National Insurance Crime Bureau is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to combat insurance fraud and vehicle theft for the benefit of both insurance companies and the public.
Non-Profit
Vehicle was registered by a "not for profit" agency or business.
Not Actual Mileage Title
When the seller certifies, under the Federal Odometer Act, that the odometer reading does not reflect the vehicle's actual mileage. This may occur because the odometer was tampered with, broken, or replaced.
OCRA
The Oficina Coordinadora De Riesgos Asegurados S.C. (OCRA) is a Mexican not-for-profit corporation organized to detect, investigate and deter vehicle theft and insurance fraud for the good of its members and the public. It manages and controls databases on stolen vehicles and exported vehicles for the benefit of the insurance industry, law enforcement agencies and the public. OCRA obtains vehicle information entirely from other sources and relies on those sources for the accuracy and reliability of this information. Therefore, OCRA accepts no responsibility or liability for any error or omission in this report. OCRA is proud to assist CARFAX customers in their efforts to better understand a vehicle's history.
Odometer Rollback
If a more recent odometer reading is less than an older reading, then the odometer may have been tampered with and "rolled back." CARFAX analyzes the mileage history and the sources of this information to indicate a potential odometer rollback.
Odometer Rollover
Older vehicles often have 5-digit odometers that roll over to zero when the mileage exceeds 99,999.
Ownership History
CARFAX defines an owner as an individual or business that possesses and uses a vehicle. Not all title transactions represent changes in ownership. To provide estimated number of owners, CARFAX proprietary technology analyzes all the events in a vehicle history. Estimated ownership is available for vehicles manufactured after 1994 and titled solely in the US including Puerto Rico. Dealers sometimes opt to take ownership of a vehicle and are required to in the following states: Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and South Dakota. Please consider this as you review a vehicle's estimated ownership history.
Personal Use
Vehicle was registered by the owner for private or personal use.
Rebuilt/Reconstructed Title
A Rebuilt/Reconstructed vehicle is a salvage vehicle that has been repaired and restored to operation. These vehicles are often severely damaged before they are rebuilt and refurbished parts are typically used during reconstruction. In most states, an inspection of the vehicle is required before the vehicle is allowed to return to the road.
Relocation
When a vehicle is moved from one state to another with no change of ownership.
Rental
Vehicle was registered by a rental agency.
Repossession
When a repossession occurs a vehicle owner fails to make loan payments, and the financial institution holding the title takes possession of the vehicle.
Salvage Auction Record
Most vehicles sold at Salvage auctions were declared totaled by insurance companies. Most of these vehicles have sustained significant damage but there are some exceptions. For instance, recovered stolen vehicles are often declared a total loss regardless of the actual damage. Rebuilders and Recyclers purchase these vehicles at auction with intentions to rebuild them or dismantle them for parts.
Salvage Title
A Salvage Title is issued on a vehicle damaged to the extent that the cost of repairing the vehicle exceeds approximately 75% of its pre-damage value. This damage threshold may vary by state. Some states treat Junk titles the same as Salvage but the majority use this title to indicate that a vehicle is not road worthy and cannot be titled again in that state. The following eleven states also use Salvage titles to identify stolen vehicles - AZ, FL, GA, IL, MD, MN, NJ, NM, NY, OK and OR.
Scion Recall
Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. provides CARFAX with recall information within the last 10 model years for vehicles originally marketed or sold in the United States of America and its territories. Only open Safety or Emissions recalls, where the remedy is available and has not been completed, will be listed. While Toyota provides data updates to CARFAX on a regular basis, this report may not include very recent activity. For the most current information on recall activity for any Scion vehicle, go to http://toyota.com/recall.
Scrapped
Vehicles that have been dismantled and/or crushed and should not return to the road.
Service Plan Company
Service Plan Companies market extended warranty plans to buyers of both new and used cars as mechanical breakdown insurance. Information is collected from service plan companies when they issue contracts and when they pay repair claims. Not all service plan companies report information to CARFAX.
Stolen Vehicle
A vehicle is reported stolen when it is reported to a state DMV or an insurance company as missing. It is important to verify the status of a stolen vehicle with NICB before purchase to protect yourself. You could be charged with buying a stolen vehicle, especially if it appears that you may have had knowledge that the vehicle was stolen. You may also lose the vehicle without compensation for the purchase price. You can contact NICB to verify a vehicle's stolen status by calling 800-447-6282 x 2 or by completing the NICB web form.
Structural Damage
When the main structure or any component designed to provide structural integrity of the vehicle is damaged. All levels of accidents, from minor to severe, can cause structural damage to a vehicle (i.e., damage to the frame or unibody). Having a structural inspection before purchase is recommended.
Taxi
Vehicle was registered as a taxi or "for hire" vehicle.
Title Issued
A state issues a title to provide a vehicle owner with proof of ownership. Each title has a unique number. Each title or registration record on a CARFAX report does not necessarily indicate a change in ownership. In Canada, a registration and bill of sale are used as proof of ownership.
Title Washing
Title Washing is the process through which a vehicle's title is altered to conceal information that would normally be included. This can be accomplished by either physically altering printed documents or reapplying for a title without disclosing its prior history. Since the CARFAX database retains information about branded titles from all 50 states and the Canadian provinces, the CARFAX Report may help uncover potential title washing.
Total Loss Vehicle
An insurance or fleet company declares a vehicle a total loss when a claim exceeds approximately 75% of its pre-damage value or if the vehicle is stolen and not recovered. This damage threshold varies by company. These companies typically take possession and obtain the title. Not all total loss vehicles result in a DMV-reported branded title. This may occur when an insurance company's definition of a total loss is different than the state DMV's definition for a branded title or when the owner of the vehicle is a self-insured company, like a fleet or rental company.
Toyota Recall
Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. provides CARFAX with recall information within the last 10 model years for vehicles originally marketed or sold in the United States of America and its territories. Only open Safety or Emissions recalls, where the remedy is available and has not been completed, will be listed. While Toyota provides data updates to CARFAX on a regular basis, this report may not include very recent activity. For the most current information on recall activity for any Toyota vehicle, go to http://toyota.com/recall.
U.S. Privacy Laws
The U.S. Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) of 1994, among other laws, restricts the use of personal information such as name and address, to specific purposes. It has therefore always been CARFAX's policy to focus its reporting on vehicles, not people.
Vehicle ID No. (VIN)
This 17 character number is unique to each vehicle. It identifies characteristics of the vehicle, including manufacturer, year, model, body, engine specifications, and serial number.
Vehicle Reacquired
A vehicle that has been repurchased by the manufacturer. Manufacturers may choose to buy the vehicle back from a customer after repeated repair attempts or to promote customer satisfaction.
Vehicle Sold With Damage
Several companies provide data to CARFAX about their fleets. To disclose the true condition of the vehicle, these companies occasionally sell vehicles from their fleets with damage rather than undertake the repairs themselves.
Verified Odometer Rollback
When an odometer rollback is reported to and verified by a state or province law enforcement agency.